Surrender makes us not just peaceful but also purposeful
When we are disturbed, we often approach God through prayer and surrender, hoping to become peaceful. Pertinently, the Bhagavad-gita (18.62) states that surrender leads to peace.
Yet the Gita itself reveals a paradoxical result of surrender. Arjuna surrenders (18.73) – and picks up his bow to fight (18.78). Did surrender make him peaceful?
Yes, but in a sense different from the ordinary. We ordinarily associate peace with peaceful situations. While that is certainly one sense of peace, such peace is frequently not in our control. Quarrels, layoffs, cyclones – hundreds of such factors beyond our control can disrupt external peace at any moment. In those situations, the only way to become peaceful is by cultivating a disposition conducive to peace. What is that disposition? It focuses on things that are in our control and lets go of the things not in our control.
Gita wisdom helps us understand that the things out of our control are still in Krishna’s control. When we appreciate that he is our well-wisher and that he can bring good even out of the bad, letting go of things becomes easier. This letting-go is the sense we often associate with surrender.
But surrender also implies focusing on the things in our control and doing them to the best of our capacity. This is the sense in which Arjuna surrenders, as conveyed in his concluding purposeful declaration: “I will do your will” (18.73). He is a warrior – in fact, a champion archer. For him, surrender means fully using his God-given skills in God’s service. This affirmative sense of surrender applies to us too, whereby we resourcefully discover and develop our talents to use them in a mood of service and contribution.
Thus, when we surrender, we become peaceful by letting go of the uncontrollable and purposeful by taking up the controllable.
Think it over:
- What is the disposition conducive to peace?
- What understanding makes letting go of things easier?
- How does surrender make us purposeful?
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